"I like to stay active, move around and run," isn’t necessarily what you would hear from just any 104 year-old.
But then Emilio Navarro, a Puerto Rican native who spent his life working, playing baseball, and working some more, was no ordinary 104 year-old. In fact, he is an honoree of America's Outstanding Oldest Male Worker for 2010.
A well-known baseball player, Emilio started as the first Puerto Rican to play with the Negro baseball leagues. He even became a two-time hall of famer and is an inductee in the Puerto Rican Baseball Hall of Fame and the Puerto Rican Sports Hall of Fame. By the age of 17, he signed with the Ponce Lions in Puerto Rico and moved on to the New York Cuban Stars.
However, he came from tough beginnings. He went to work at the age of five after his father died and did everything from shoe shining to selling coconut candy to help make ends meet.
"I worked, worked, worked a lot, and then worked some more," said Navarro.
One day, his luck turned around. He would sneak into baseball games because he couldn’t afford to compete against other teams. “Mr. Gordian, the team's coach, asked me to replace a player. I produced two hits, stole second base and then third. I was named a member of the team and was given a uniform," he said.
Navarro’s wonderful story of working hard to achieve your dreams is a testament of time.
Unfortunately, he passed away on April 30, 2011, but he left behind a legacy and a strong set of values and work ethic.